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scrutiny. david martin is at the pentagon. >> reporter: the use of drones to hunt and kill suspected terrorists has replaced the all-out air strikes with which the wars in iraq and afghanistan began. drones have become the first line of defense against terrorists shadowing and striking them in remote areas of pakistan and yemen. >> impact. >> i'm a big advocate of drones. >> reporter: today former defense secretary robert gates argue head that in addition to the advantage of not putting a pilot's life at risk drones cause remarkably few civilian casualties. >> first of all the numbers i believe are extremely small. and second you do have the ability to limit that collateral damage more than with any other weapon system that you have. >> reporter: critics dispute that and say civilian casualties fuel hatred of america and create more terrorists than they kill. but armed drones are only increasing in number. this helicopter drone which the navy uses for surveillance is about to be armed with laser guided rockets. giving it the capability to launch strikes from the back of ships. and th
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